The 1.3 billion was a combination of 29 percent, or around three in 10 adults, worldwide who refused to be vaccinated, and another 3 percent who were undecided or refused to answer.
The rollout of the vaccines may be more challenging in certain countries, where more than 50 percent of people in 20 countries and areas said that they were unwilling to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
These countries are Gabon, Cameroon, Jordan, Hungary, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Senegal, Togo, Cyprus, Czech Republic, North Macedonia, Albania, Poland, Namibia, Lebanon, and Ukraine. Less than 2 percent of the population in eight of the countries have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Sub-Saharan African countries Cameroon and Gabon led the list with the highest percentage of its population refusing the vaccine at 66 percent and 65 percent, respectively.
“Hesitancy among people is natural and should not be treated as controversial. It is often reflective of a distrust of government-provided information or a desire to examine more evidence and effectiveness before taking any medication,” the spokesperson added.
Some of the reasons why people are declining the COVID-19 vaccine include concerns of side effects, vaccine safety and efficacy, the speed at which it was developed, and a lack of trust in pharmaceutical companies, governments, and businesses, particularly those who incentivize people to get the vaccine or mandate a vaccine passport while the vaccine is only granted an emergency use authorization (EUA).
“In addition, mandating vaccines that have not been fully approved and where long-term data is unavailable is not a sound medical or scientific approach,” the AFLDS spokesperson said. “It violates federal and international law. Many people are interested in waiting to see if new research comes that could cut against any EUA that permitted premature rollout of a new type of medication.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has so far only issued an emergency authorization to three vaccine manufacturers: Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer-BioNTech. The only treatment the federal regulator has approved for a COVID -19 illness that requires hospitalization and oxygen supplementation is the antiviral agent, remdesivir.
To date, more than 247 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Americans, and 50 percent of the population in nine states have received at least one shot.